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Author Tulu, Bengisu ♦ Wilson, E. Vance
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Language English
Abstract Introduction The U.S. health care industry is catching up on its lagging information technology (IT) investment, and this trend has important ramifications for IT academics and practitioners. During the 1990s, investing in IT was a relatively low priority for hospitals and health systems, which faced fiscal constraints and pressing need to upgrade aging facilities. Now IT has come to be viewed as a means for improving quality, safety, and productivity in health care. As a consequence, the proportion of hospital revenue that is invested in IT has doubled in recent years with continuing increases forecast through at least 2011. And IT investment is beginning to pay off. Analysis of data from 2,000 U.S. hospitals shows that over 60% have now made a sufficient investment in IT to generate a positive return to the organization. Increasing reliance on IT in health care raises demand for trained workers. It is widely recognized that physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals need training in IT skills related to their work domains. One way this need is being addressed is through the American Medical Informatics Association 10x10™ initiative to provide IT training to 10,000 medical professionals by 2010 ( Less recognized is the rising demand within health care for trained IT professionals, especially those who combine health care domain knowledge with skills in business IT. Historically, it was typical to recruit graduates of medical informatics and related programs which provide intensive training in specialized aspects of the health domain, such as HL7 (Health Level 7) standards and ICD (International Classification of Diseases) or SNOMED (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine) terminology. However, recent health care IT investment has been directed in large part toward generalized business IT, including data warehouses, enterprise systems, and web-based applications, such as e-health websites for use by patients. Of the nine top staffing needs identified in the $18^{th}$ Annual Leadership Survey conducted by the Health care Information and Management Systems Society, six are central to business IT, including application support, systems integration, network support, and systems design. Not surprisingly, it is becoming common for health care positions to be taken by graduates of IT academic programs, including information systems (IS), computer science, and information studies. These new workers arrive on the job with technical skills in business IT, but their experience with specialized aspects of the health care domain is typically limited. This situation does not fully meet the needs of health care organizations. As Lanzalotto writes, health care hiring managers "are seeking candidates with strong technical and domain skill sets, as well as extensive industry knowledge." Clearly, academic training in health care topics can benefit IT students who enter health care positions as well as the organizations that hire them. Until recently, however, few IT programs offered a concentration or degree focusing on health care. We refer to this focus as health-IT in recognition that instruction within these programs centers on generalized business IT with supporting curricula in health-related areas. Since 2006, the authors have conducted an annual survey of health-IT programs for the Special Interest Group on IT in Health Care (SIGhealth) of the Association for Information Systems (AIS). Results are reported at To date, 25 programs have been identified, representing a broad range of degree offerings, including six doctoral degrees, 22 masters degrees, and 9 undergraduate degrees. In the following sections, we profile two recent additions to the SIGhealth listing that exemplify the emerging interest in health-IT academics.
Description Affiliation: W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, AZ (Wilson, E. Vance) || Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Tulu, Bengisu)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2005-08-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal Communications of the ACM (CACM)
Volume Number 53
Issue Number 5
Page Count 4
Starting Page 147
Ending Page 150

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Source: ACM Digital Library